President of Long Beach Rotary Club, Greg  Haeseler, was joined by preschoolers and teachers for the ceremonial ribbon cutting of the new Rotary Village at
President of Long Beach Rotary Club, Greg Haeseler, was joined by preschoolers and teachers for the ceremonial ribbon cutting of the new Rotary Village at the Westside Branch of the Long Beach Day Nursery. (Courtesy Long Beach Rotary)

There were 320 supporters on hand May 15 at the Renaissance Hotel for the California Conference for Equality and Justice's 50th annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner.

Four distinguished honorees were recognized with the CCEJ's 2013 Humanitarian Award. They were "recognized for their advancement of the mission of CCEJ, their many civic contributions, and their lifelong commitment to humankind," according to the organization. This year's Humanitarian Award Honorees were Ivy Goolsby, presented by Doris Topsy-Elvord; F. King Alexander, presented by Douglas W. Robinson; J. Christopher Lytle presented by Elisa Nicholas; and Judy Ross, presented by Margaux Kohut.

CCEJ also recognized the Barbara and Ray Alpert Foundation with the Building Bridges Award Foundation for their support of the vision of CCEJ and for valuing diversity and the worth of every individual. The award was presented by Gene Lentzner and accepted by the Alperts.

Always elegant, the Humanitarian Awards Dinner began with entertainment during cocktails, provided by Jazz at the Beach from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at Cal State Long Beach. Celebrating CEEJ's Golden Anniversary, the room was decorated in gold, with black accents.

Beverly O'Neill, former Mayor of Long Beach, shared a few words of inspiration then opened the evening with the Pledge of Allegiance. Former Mayor Eunice Sato also gave an inspiring opening thought.


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The honorable George Deukmejian, former governor of California, closed the evening, reminding those present of the importance and impact of CCEJ's work in the community over the past 50 years.

Dinner Co-Chairs Randy Gordon, President and CEO Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Eloy Oakley, President Long Beach City College, were pleased with the $125,000 raised at the event.

CCEJ is a social justice and human relations organization dedicated to eliminating bias, bigotry and racism in America. CCEJ breaks down the distance between people by promoting understanding and respect among all races, religions, and cultures through education, conflict resolution and advocacy.

Among the notables recognized in the audience were Carson Mayor James Dear, Long Beach Vice Mayor Robert Garcia, and councilmembers Gerrie Schipske, James Johnson, Al Austin and Steven Neal; Port of Long Beach Commissioner Susan Wise; Long Beach Fire Department Chief Mike Duree; LBCC Board of Trustees President Robert Uranga and Trustee Thomas Clark, and LBUSD Superintendent Christopher Steinhauser.

SEEN AT THE SCENE: Chairman of the CCEJ Board of Directors Braden Phillips, Barbara and Ray Alpert, Mike and Arline Walter, Susan and Mort Stuhlbarg, Ann and Gene Lentzner, Amy and Rich Lipeles, Bob Stemler, Drew Gagner, Diana Hendel, Joyce and Hank Feldman, Binnie and Jack Berro, Margaux Kohut , Jill Rosenberg, Minnie Douglas, Roberta and Matthew Jenkins, Stephen Goodling, Barbara and Ned Gaylord, Virginia Baxter, Suzanne Nosworthy.

Rotary raises funds for new play area

More than 50 members of the Rotary Club of Long Beach gathered with Long Beach Day Nursery staff and board members on May 23 to celebrate the opening of Rotary Village, a new play area at Long Beach Day Nursery's West Branch.

About 20 LBDN preschoolers also joined in the fun. Spearheaded by Rotary President Gregory Haeseler, with assistance from Rotarians Jean Bixby Smith and Carl Ann Wylie, the Rotary Village campaign raised close to $50,000 for the creation of the play area. Greg and Jean are both honorary board members of LBDN and also past board chairs. Carl Ann is a former board member as well.

Under clear blue skies, guests were able to wander through Rotary Village, composed of various child-sized make-believe buildings, including a store, cottage and café; a gas station; a creek (made from poured-in-place rubber); and a winding brick path engraved with the names of donors. A cheery sign welcomes guests and reminds visitors of the Rotary Four Way Test: "Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?" Another sign acknowledges all the major donors to the project.

Haeseler welcomed and thanked all the guests.

"We wanted to do something special, something lasting, to commemorate the Day Nursery's 100th Anniversary and recognize the decades-long relationship between Rotary and the Day Nursery," he said. "Hundreds of children will play in Rotary Village and will see the Four Way Test every day."

He was joined by Patrice Wong, executive director of LBDN (and Rotarian) who also acknowledged the generosity of all the Rotarians and reminded guests that the Rotary Club of Long Beach raised the funds to purchase the property and build the West Branch in 1926. Deloris Mayuga, chairwoman of the LBDN Board, and Jon Gotz, chairman-elect of the LBDN Board (and Lakewood Rotarian), also thanked all the guests.

SEEN AT THE SCENE: Joan and Tom Alderson, Helene Ansell, Barbara Bixby Blackwell, Kay Cofield, Eline and Randy Fudge, Joen Garnica, Millie Hubbard, Anne Johnson, Theresa and Bud Landers, Nancy and Bob Latimer, Tom Merrick, Beverly O'Neill, Tim Patton, Rachel Powers, Donna Reckseen, Connie Rivera, Brian Russell, Robert, Brenda, Steve and Eric Soth, Donita Van Horik, Judith and Leo Vanderlans, Melanie Werts, Patti and Jim Worsham, Madrid Zimmerman.

Memorial Women's Hospital League

"Yes, yes, yes!" were the enthusiastic responses to the questions posed by installing officer Jean Dayak as she opened the program of the Memorial Women's Hospital League on May 23 at the Long Beach Yacht Club. She had asked whether the audience of 30 members felt "positively positive" that their volunteer services offered to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center continues to be relevant and needed.

The new officers and appointed chairwomen were given a beautiful ornament and a bottle of bubbly. Leading the board will be President Judy Bogart, Henrietta Daniels, Roxanne Korzeniowski, Blanca Figueroa, Maggie Rodriquez, Laura Green, Toni Ellis, Bea Almada, Carole Yochum, Mary Alice Braly and Hospital Liaison and Gloria Villalobos. Appointed chairwomen are Lourdes Monzon, Libby Green, Nitsa Teodosiadis, Annemarie Forster, Nancy Freeman, Sunelie Meylor, and Mary Pat Sabol.

Following the ceremony, Dayak led the group in singing "Accentuate the Positive," a tradition that stresses the program's theme of "We Feel Positively Positive About Our Goals."

SEEN AT THE SCENE: Don Bogart, Kathy Cleveland, Mary Kessler, Marie LaFortune, Blanche Cannady, Lynn Englehart, Joyce Gershultz, Marilyn Rodriquez, and Terri Nikolepich.

News of social events with charitable purposes may be sent to Shirley Wild at spwild@verizon.net or by fax to 562-594-9668. Please include a contact phone number. Send high-resolution jpeg photos, by attachment, to spwild@verizon.net and include group name and identification of individuals from left. Call Shirley at 562-594-9468 for more information. Please check the website for coverage of additional events: wwwpresstelegram.com/social.